The state government’s Switch to Solar pilot gives 1000 eligible South Australians a free solar system in lieu of receiving annual Energy and Cost of Living concession payments for a period of 10 years.
Few details of the pilot have been released at this stage, so it is not clear what size and specifications the solar systems being installed in the program will be. A solar provider is also yet to be selected, with the government asking providers to apply to deliver the program via the SA Tenders and Contracts website before February 26.
What we do know is that the $4.25 million program is open to residents who receive an eligible Centrelink payment, meet low income provisions, or hold an eligible concession card. Eligible households will need to own their own home and not have an existing solar system.
The suburbs selected for this pilot include Hope Valley, Banksia Park, Tea Tree Gully, Vista, Modbury, Modbury Heights, Modbury North, Felixstow, Campbelltown, Newton, Paradise, Athelstone, Dernancourt, Holden Hill, Highbury, Redwood Park and Ridgehaven and Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island in regional SA. These were selected by the government based on where the network can best accommodate the volume of solar installations.
Once a solar provider has been selected, eligible households will be contacted about the offer.
“Our new Switch to Solar pilot is a win-win for everyone,” Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said.
“Not only is the Government injecting money into the economy and supporting vital jobs through the purchase of 1000 new solar [systems], our concession holders will get big bill savings off their energy bills
“It’s estimated that eligible South Australians will save up to $890 on their power bills.
Customers could be more than $400 better off under this program annually – and this is after they forgo their concessions.”
Concession holders receive up to $215.10 per year from the Cost of Living Concession and up to $231.41 per year towards their energy bill, totalling up to $446.51. Swapping this payment for a decade would mean the government recovers a total of $4,460 for the solar system. A fairly average price for a midrange system, the program’s edge is that the money doesn’t have to be forked out upfront, giving households currently priced out of the market the opportunity to install solar and ultimately save on their electricity bills.
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